What I missed

During my annual “no social media” break, there of course were twelve great articles, editorials and announcements that deserve a share. Here they are in no particular order:

Articles by individuals

(1) We don’t need white tech saviours in Africa – we need a level playing field, by Eliza Anyangwe in The Guardian UK

“In a context marked by poverty and where identity is still largely collective rather than individual, one person’s success belongs to the community. As such, brilliant young people are encouraged – sometimes pressurised – to study a narrow range of subjects with the intention of becoming an employee in the best national or international companies, rather than take on the risks of becoming an employer…The westerner whose individualistic culture tells him that he owes his success to himself, and has responsibility for none but himself, is free to try the untested, and even to fail.”

(2) Response to Quora Question, “I am white. That’s all you know about me. Am I privileged based on that alone and assuming I am, should I feel guilt and what should I do about it?” by Omar Ismail

“Consider it this way. All I know about you is you’re tall.”

(3) America is burning: White people in philanthropy, what is your move? by Vanessa Daniel of Groundswell Fund

“[Philanthropy] desperately needs more Heather Heyers and Seth DeValves and Micah Fletchers…It needs more white people abandoning timidity for boldness, comfort for justice, and cowardice for courage. Philanthropy needs more white people who refuse to allow their white fragility and fear of making a mistake to paralyze them from rolling up their sleeves to work for racial justice, trying hard, and learning along the way. It needs more white people who stop merely distancing themselves from white supremacy for fear of being implicated in it and start stepping up to combat it in all its forms, structural and interpersonal, implicit and overt, intentional or not.”

(4) Don’t Be Scared About The End Of Capitalism—Be Excited To Build What Comes Next, by Jason Hickel and Martin Kirk in Fast Company

“Fortunately, there is already a wealth of language and ideas out there that stretch well beyond these dusty old binaries…There are the many communities of practice, from the Zapatistas in Mexico to the barter economies of Detroit, from the global Transition Network, to Bhutan, with its Gross National Happiness index…the evolution beyond capitalism is well underway and unstoppable, thanks to already active ecological feedback loops and/or the arrival of the near zero-marginal cost products and services.”

(5) Why Hollywood’s White Savior Obsession Is an Extension of Colonialism, by Fariha Róisín in Teen Vogue

“The white savior somehow always ends up usurping the narrative. And in this centering of whiteness and white characters, the POC characters end up becoming props, which only perpetuates ideas of our otherness and unimportance, which then establishes a status quo of racism. Whiteness is again normalized, and POC are decentralized. This is particularly problematic because whiteness is not only favored in Hollywood but also in society at large; white privilege is ever-present and ubiquitous.”

(6) Local Aid Groups Are Key To Disaster Relief. So Why Are They Overlooked? by Malaka Gharib in NPR Goats & Soda

Ugh. We still haven’t overcome modernist frames (colonial ideas that non-Western countries have to be “brought up”), but at least the discussion is ongoing and in the mainstream, and grassroots organizations inside and outside the aid system were included in the article.

“But what ends up happening is that big NGOs’ knowledge and expertise aren’t transferred to the little guys, says [Paul] Spiegel [a former senior official at the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and a professor at Johns Hopkins University]. ‘There’s no sufficient incentive to train and build up the local NGOs,’ he says. ‘If [those groups] had sufficient capacity to deal with disasters on their own it would eventually put international organizations out of a job.'”


(1) We must topple the hierarchy of suffering, by the Editors of Mail & Guardian SA

“For all our purported progress as human beings, we have failed to do something as basic as establish a sense of shared humanity. What we think of as ‘global’ is actually the province of a few in North America and Western Europe. It is mostly European bodies that are global. Some American bodies are global. The great mass of humanity is, however, local, regional, ‘ethnic.’

“Our sense of the ‘global’ is perpetuated by a well-constructed sham.”

(2) Ending White Supremacy in Ourselves: A Time for Nonprofit Action, by the Editors of Nonprofit Quarterly

“Nonprofits should understand that this moment defines us on a deep level—a moment where civil society must declare with moral certainty that notions of racial superiority are antithetical to our common humanity and our future. As a sector, we have not taken the leadership on this that we should. In fact, our organizations often mirror the distortions of larger society. Not only must we publicly disavow white supremacy; we must offer a counter narrative, and model leadership that supports racial justice and economic justice—in society at large and in our organizations. We have no time to waste.”

(3) Philanthropy’s Diversity Challenge, September 2017 issue of Alliance Magazine,

The issue documents “the lack of diversity in foundations, why they see this as problematic and what they think should be done. There are some bold and provocative proposals. Their challenge to philanthropy is: if you want to do the most good, you need to reflect the make-up of wider society. To an alarming number of its own practitioners, philanthropy simply appears out of touch.”


(1) Call for Participants: Online Consultation on Aid Exits and Locally-led Development, hosted by PeaceDirect, Search for Common Ground and CDA Collaborative Learning Projects from Oct 2 – Oct 6.

The discussions will contribute to our collaborative learning project: “Stopping as Success: planning for success from start to exit”. This is a three-year USAID-funded research that will be looking at responsible exit strategies of INGOs and local ownership of development.

(2) Call to filmmakers: Submissions open for 2018 Social Impact Media Awards!

The annual SIMA Awards celebrate the best impact filmmaking from around the world that inspires activism, compassion and social transformation. Each year, films are selected from over 140 countries, competing for awards, cash prizes, media features, distribution opportunities, and entry into SIMA’s signature film programs. Submissions are open for films completed between October 2016 and September 2017.

(3) Happy 1st anniversary to Change Making Women, a podcast hosted by Ziada Abeid and Mary Ann Clements!

“We aim to be topical, thought-provoking and inspirational, to bounce ideas around, trust that change is possible and introduce you to new people, things and ideas. Because Ziada is in Dar es Salaam and Mary Ann is in London the content is informed by those locations and the links between them, and, at the same time – we are talking to you wherever in the world you are trying to make a difference.”

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